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Call for Papers: The End of Life Experience


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Saturday, 13th April to Sunday, 14th April 2019
Bruges, Belgium

Join us for a fast-paced, interdisciplinary-fuelled two days of learning, sharing and connection as we engage with one another, across disciplines, practices and professions to transform the end of life into a person-centred experience.

This inclusive interdisciplinary conference explores dying and death and the ways culture impacts care for the dying, the overall experience of dying, and how the dead are remembered. Culture not only presents and portrays ideas about ‘a good death’ and norms that seek to achieve it, culture also operates as both a vehicle and medium through which meaning about death is communicated and understood. Sadly, too, culture sometimes facilitates death through violence.

Given the location of this year’s conference, a central theme in our proceedings will involve tracing ongoing and profound shifts in contemporary attitudes towards death. Hospices or almshouses are charitable housing that were usually built for needy or elderly people. The initiative often came from crafts organisations or rich individuals ordered their establishment. In Bruges these houses already start to appear in the 14th century. Generally they consist of groups of small, soberly furnished houses that are gathered around an inner courtyard. The houses are usually not more than one story high. Luckily, some 40 of those complexes still survive in Bruges today. Most of them still serve a social purpose (as housing for elderly, poor, disabled people, etc.).

Our conference explores these connections, and those between contemporary technologies, social media hubs, and current health care delivery systems that impact current end-of-life issues and decisions, including the experience of bereavement and grief, and particularly how patients, staff, and survivors intersect amid newly emerging care settings.

We welcome submissions that engage medical, therapeutic, cinematic, historical, ethnographic, ethical, literary, anthropological, philosophical, theological, political, artistic or performance-oriented approaches to relationships between death, dying and culture, such as:

  • How might healthcare systems integrate empathic design principles across the entire spectrum of the end of life experience?
  • How might new technologies offer new propositions for models of care?
  • How might we implement best practices in high-quality, patient-centred care?
  • How do options such as Physician Aid in Dying (sometimes called Physician Assisted Dying) factor into contemporary dying trajectories, and how best might we consider the quality vs quantity balance?
  • How might cultural, spiritual and traditional belief systems and practices more fully empower our relationship with mortality, both in personal and professional settings?
  • How are cultural attitudes toward death and dying currently depicted across various artistic and media platforms?

We welcome all those who struggle and strive to address questions such as these, and those that seek to analyse, re-imagine and/or improve the end of life experience. Augmenting our rich conversations, our ethos aspires to create essential partnerships that can drive local visions for patient-centred, high-quality care that can help transform the end of life experience in differing geographic environments. To that end, we invite collaboration with organisations and individuals ready to change the conversation about living and dying with a view to forming a publication to engender further collaboration and discussion.

For further details, visit the event’s page

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